Matthew Duss

Matthew Duss is president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and a contributing writer for the Prospect. You can follow him on Twitter @mattduss.

Recent Articles

MORE GASOLINE FOR THE FIRE.

Just what the Middle East needs, more high-tech weapons floating around : The Joint Direct Attack Munition is a kit that, when added to the back end of a 500- or 2,000-pound "dumb" bomb, turns it into a lethal, all-weather "smart" weapon. The bomb can hit within four feet of a target when launched from a fighter aircraft more than 10 miles away. The kits and bombs are a prominent part of the $20 billion U.S. arms package for Persian Gulf states that has been in the works since last summer. President Bush discussed the package with Arab leaders during his recent trip to the Gulf. [...] [The Congressional Research Service] notes that "significant arms sales, prolonged military training programs, material pre-positioning and basing arrangements, joint exercises and direct military interventions have characterized U.S. policy toward the Gulf region." In short, without much public debate, the Bush administration has expanded previous multilateral cooperation with Gulf states on defense,...

AMERICA DESERVES BETTER INFORMED WARMONGERS.

I haven't finished reading Jeffrey Goldberg 's new article on "the next phase of Middle East history," but this anecdote is worth sharing: Just before the “Mission Accomplished” phase of the war, I spoke about Kurd­istan to an audience that included Norman Podhoretz, the vicariously martial neoconservative who is now a Middle East adviser to Rudolph Giuliani. After the event, Podhoretz seemed authentically bewildered. “What’s a Kurd, anyway?” he asked me. Understand, Podhoretz had spent the previous months arguing for invading Iraq, apparently without having bothered to learn enough about the country to know who the Kurds were. Given that it's pretty hard to read a magazine article, let alone an entire book about modern Iraq without coming across at least some mention of the Kurds, this does not speak well of the expertise of our leading neoconservative warmongers. Podhoretz's innocence will come as no surprise to those who have read his World War IV , which is similarly untroubled by...

AS SERIOUS AND THOUGHTFUL AS AN ENDLESS STREAM OF CLOWNS ISSUING FROM A COLORFULLY PAINTED VOLKSWAGEN.

Jonah Goldberg , from a recent interview : When Barack Obama is on the stump, his whole point is that if we can just be unified, public policy issues don't really matter, what really matters is unity -- that sort of thing. There's also a sort of contempt for Democratic values that also comes out of this unity thing. One of the most fascistic things that kids on college campuses say is that, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." In other words, there is no safe harbor. Either you agree with where the movement wants to go or you are a problem and problems need to be solved by definition. Really, Jonah? Really? WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Tuesday that there was no room for neutrality in the war against terrorism. [...] "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," he said. "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." In all seriousness, how is one supposed to respond...

COME, LOOK AT IRAQ THROUGH OUR STRAW.

Eric Martin has an excellent couple of posts on how the mainstream media, having spent the last few years shrugging furiously over their complicity in selling the neocons' "9/11WMDAlQaedaSaddamOMG!!!1!!" argument for the Iraq war, now seem intent on repeating that mistake by accepting the neocons' "SurgeSuccessAnbarVictoryOMG!!!1!!" story. One really has to marvel at the discipline of the conservative noise machine; its ability to hammer incessantly at a settled-upon narrative is rivaled only by its ability to ignore evidence that fails to conform to said narrative. Having convinced a large segment of the media to come get high with them, conservatives now feel emboldened to attack Democrats for not smoking up as well. Fred Barnes , auditioning for the role of McCain court hagiographer, proclaims that St. John's surge in the polls mirrors that of the surge in Iraq. Jonathan Last mocks Democrats for not recognizing his personal fantasies about Iraq as fact. The title of Last's piece, "...

MORE ON TAKFIR, "ISLAMIC SUPREMACISM".

Eli Lake comments on my post about takfir : I did not say that all Islamic Supremacists opposed elections. Nor did I say that Shi'ia Islamic Supremacists adhered to Salafi Takfir. I simply said that the doctrine of Takfir and its analog for Khomeinists sanction activities normally proscribed by Islam for unbelievers due to the dire threat to the faith. This is the basis for any kind of supremacist movement. White supremacists want different laws for blacks than for whites that keep whites superior. Ditto for Islamic supremacists. Also all four groups you mention use terror to advance statecraft, seek the imposition of Islamic law on their subjects (Muslim and non-Muslim) and celebrate a fanatical hatred of Americans and Jews. Yes there are differences. But there are also important similarities you, what's the word, elide. I'll try to be clearer than I was yesterday: As I understand it, al-Qaeda's interpretation of takfir is so different from anything practiced by Khomeinists, Hamas,...

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